CSX train derails, no injuries reported

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A CSX freight train derailed just before 9 p.m. Saturday in the Calhoun

community in Lowndes County.

"We received the call at 8:55 p.m. and they told us 17 cars of a 101-car train had jumped the track," E-911 Director Fanny Davis told the County Commission Monday. "They said there was no hazardous material involved and the cars were mostly empty. The cars had previously contained syrup so there was no treat to the community."

"The sheriff was notified first and he had sent deputies down," she said. "Fort Deposit Fire Department showed up as they thought there was a fire, but it was only a spark. CSX had people on the train to help out and other people came down. The response was very quick."

She said there was one car containing petroleum in the trail, but it did not derail.

Gary Sease, a spokeman for CSX Railroad, said they have yet to make an official determination as to the cause of the accident.

"We try to maintain our cars and our track so that these things do not happen," he said. "We also train our personnel to take an active role in preventing this sort of thing. There's much less cost in prevention that in cleaning up."

Sease said the last car from the derailed train that was able to be towed off was re-railed at 9 a.m. Sunday. The track was reopened as of 10 p.m. Sunday.

"This did cause some delays in shipment," he said. "We have ways of rerouting shipments but there was some delay. Those cars that we could not re-rail we shoved off to the side of the track and we'll clean them up later. This way the line can be opened and we have time to go in and repair it. Typically it will take us two to three weeks to get it cleaned up."

Workers on the scene said a load shifting in a car as the train came around a curve caused the derailment.

"When the load shifted, one wheel came off," CSX repairman James Watkins said. "When that car hit the (track) junction the other wheels jumped and that's what caused it. The other cars followed."

Davis said there was no damage to public or private property and no injuries were reported.

In an unrelated event, a CSX train collided with a stationary train Tuesday morning in Banks. The crash happened along Highway 93 in front of the Banks Primary School around 5:15 a.m. No injuries were reported and CSX officials declined to comment on the cause.